CHICAGO (August 13, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team will play host to a truly special match when No. 1 ranked Brazil comes to Chicago in the “Clash of Champions” on Sunday, September 9, marking the five-time World Champion’s first-ever visit to the Windy City. Kickoff at Soldier Field is set for 3 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. CT.
Brazil will be making a rare trip to the United States with their full roster as they begin preparations for the start of South American World Cup qualifying in October. Led by two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and Barcelona midfielder Ronaldinho, Brazil can deploy some of the finest attacking talent in the world. The midfield magician has scored 40 goals for Barcelona during the last two seasons, and scored two goals as part of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning side. His commercials for Nike during the 2006 FIFA World Cup were amongst the most viewed videos on YouTube. Kaká is regarded as one of the most superb passers in the world. Real Madrid striker Robinho scored 14 goals in helping his side capture the 2006-07 Spanish league title, and ended as the leading scorer in the 2007 Copa America with six goals. Former Brazilian international midfielder Dunga took the reigns following the 2006 World Cup, and has amassed an 11-2-3 record since then, including a pair of 3-0 victories against archrivals and No. 2 ranked Argentina.
This unique game pits the champions of CONCACAF against the champions of CONMEBOL after both teams captured their confederation championships earlier this summer. In Maracaibo, Venezuela, in July, Brazil dominated in a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Argentina in the final to collect their eighth Copa America crown. Goals by Julio Baptista and Daniel Alves paced the Seleção, the victory elevating Brazil back to the No. 1 position in the FIFA World Rankings. With 60,000 fans on hand at a sold-out Soldier Field in Chicago, the United States defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final to secure their second-consecutive Gold Cup title. Landon Donovan netted the equalizer and Benny Feilhaber’s thunderous strike became the game-winner as the U.S. extended their unbeaten home streak against Mexico to nine matches over eight years.
"It is a very exciting opportunity for our players to get to play perhaps the most storied team in the world,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “We have developed a tremendous schedule for 2007, and adding Brazil is another important piece of the puzzle as we continue to build our team towards World Cup qualifying next year. I have told our players many times that these are special games, and we need to take advantage of the opportunity. We are very much looking forward to the challenge.”
Under the leadership of Bradley, the United States has posted an impressive 10-3-1 record in 2007. Bradley, who took the reigns in December of 2006, became the first coach in U.S. history to record victories in his first three games with wins against Denmark, Mexico and Ecuador. Leading the charge on the field has been two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Landon Donovan, who has already amassed nine goals in 10 games this year. With his strike in the Gold Cup final, the 25-year-old moved into a tie for first place on the USA’s all-time leading goal-scoring chart with 34 goals.
The U.S. has only one victory in the lifetime series against Brazil, holding a 1-11-0 record overall in meetings dating back to 1930. The lone win came on Feb. 10, 1998, in Los Angeles during the Gold Cup, with Preki Radosavljevic tallying the game-winner and Kasey Keller turning in a magical performance which Brazilian legend Romario described as “the greatest performance I have ever seen from a goalkeeper.” The teams last met in the 2003 edition of the Gold Cup, goals by Diego and AC Milan midfielder Kaka delivering Brazil a thrilling 2-1 golden goal victory in overtime in the tournament semifinals.
The U.S. had previously been scheduled to play Mexico on September 9 in Mexico City, however that match was cancelled due to contractual and financial considerations.
After an 11-year absence from Chicago, the U.S. will now be playing its fifth match at Soldier Field since 2004. Prior to the semifinal and the sold-out final of the 2007 Gold Cup, the U.S. made its return to the Windy City in a 1-1 draw against Poland on July 11, 2004, before a boisterous crowd of 39,592. The following year, nearly 48,000 fans witnessed a 2-1 defeat at the hands of England. The U.S. has a 3-2-2 record in Chicago since 1992, which includes a win against No. 8 ranked Portugal and a draw with current World Champion Italy.
By virtue of their respective titles, both the USA and Brazil will compete in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, a tournament which is contested by the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships (CAF, CONMEBOL, UEFA, AFC, OFC, CONCACAF), along with the FIFA World Cup champion (Italy) and the host country (South Africa).
Next up on the U.S. schedule is the team’s first trip to Europe under Bradley, a match-up against 11-time World Cup finalist Sweden on Aug. 22 in Goteberg, Sweden. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. After the Brazil clash, the U.S. then takes advantage of a double FIFA date in October, first facing Catalonia on Oct. 14 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain, and then traveling to face Switzerland on Oct. 17 in Basel. Both October matches will also be televised on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision.
U.S. MNT 2007 Schedule/Results
# Copa America